It’s not just that Maputo is one of Africa’s most attractive cities, with its wide tree-lined avenues and old buildings, which – although somewhat neglected – add undeniable charm.
Maputo’s distinctive appeal lies in the fusion of Portuguese influences, evident not only in the architecture, but also in the language and cuisine, with an enticingly laid-back coastal lifestyle.
This is a city where relaxation comes as naturally as the balmy weather, giving visitors a real chance to unwind.
When you are lounging on one of Maputo’s long sandy beaches lapped by the warm Indian Ocean, strolling around the colourful markets, being captivated by the beat of traditional music or savouring delectable seafood, you will wonder why you waited so long.
Ranging from total relaxation to more energetic pursuits, there is a feast of things to see and do. Here are a few of our picks:
Pancho Guedes tour – experience Maputo’s modernism
Architecture enthusiast? Or are multiple creative surprises your thing? This two-hour walking tour is for you. The famous Portuguese modernist architect, Pancho Guedes, certainly made his mark on the Maputo cityscape and the tour will take you to the finest examples of his work, including the Smiling Lion with its distinctive murals and sculpture. Booking is recommended.
Catembe – the best viewpoint
Head to the port of Maputo, hop on an hourly ferry and you will find yourself at the Catembe Gallery Hotel, the perfect vantage point for panoramic views of the city. Spend a glorious day swimming and lunching on the legendary prawns, while sipping on a cerveja (beer). You will be forgiven if you repeat the trip the next day.
Casa Elefante – cloths for Africa
Get yourself a Capulana, a sarong traditionally worn by women in the south of the country, and made from thick cloth adorned with striking patterns. The place to go is Casa Elefante, famed for its enormous assortment of Capulanas in a myriad of colours and designs, covering literally every bit of wall space.
Feima Market – the market of all markets
A trip to Maputo would be incomplete without a visit to Feima artisanal market. Step away from the hustle of the city centre and into this shady tree-filled park packed with stalls offering an infinite variety of crafts and curios, masses of plants and flowers, as well as tasty local food. Don’t be tempted to make your purchases at the first stall. Shopping around and haggling for the best prices is expected.
Um Lugar e Meio Restaurante – a popular eatery
Here you have an unpretentious, popular eatery, particularly favoured by young professionals. The drawcards are the friendly, intimate atmosphere and the moreish tapas-style fare that takes its inspiration from local cuisine.
Dhow – best sundowner
Just a few blocks away is Dhow, the best sundowner spot in town, with its uninterrupted views across to Catembe. If you’re peckish, there is a tempting café-style menu. And to round things off, you can browse around Dhow’s home décor store brimming with furnishings, utensils, decorative pieces and gifts. Take as much time as you like, then drink in the views. ML
For more insiders’ tips on where to stay, eat and drink, shop and how to make the most of your stay in Maputo, visit African City Guide.
African City Guide is a curated online platform which provides a free source of independent recommendations for travellers to African cities, provided by insiders who know their cities inside out.
"We are surrounded by story." ~ Alice McDermott